Thursday, June 06, 2013

Daisy Rockwell on translation and Manto

From an interview published in The Hindu: "Sometimes, when I am feeling down about translating, I think of it as slave and master (where I’m the slave). Sometimes it’s more like heckled, but slightly conniving wife and domineering but gullible husband (in that one, the translator is the wife). When I’m feeling grandiose, then I’m a psychic medium channelling the spirit of the author. "
From a recent review of a book on Manto: :Early in the book, she observes in reference to Manto’s Partition stories that, “Manto turns short story writing into a testament of his belief that human depravity, though real and pervasive, can never succeed in killing all sense of humanity.” When one thinks about the stories in question, one can easily recall many instances of the said human depravity: rape, necrophilia, looting and violent mayhem of all kinds. What is harder to perceive is the supposed underlying humanity that Jalal sees Manto as optimistically championing through it all. Such atrocities are indeed uniquely human; most of these behaviours would never be found among animals. But the humanity that Manto holds up for us to see could hardly be called uplifting. In fact, it reveals something much darker: that depravity itself is an essential component of humanity. Therein lies Manto’s genius, and the pity of Partition."
From an earlier article: "He is the gold standard of South Asian fiction. "

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